Consumers 'want better labelling on egg products'

23rd August 2013 - Fine Cut

The majority of consumers would like products containing eggs to feature clearer labels in order to make a more informed decision about their purchases, a new survey has revealed.

According to findings from animal welfare charity Four Paws, which were reported by Farmers Weekly, some 69 per cent of shoppers want such items to be labelled free range, barn or caged - along with featuring the state country of origin on the packaging.

As part of its scheme to encourage consumers to buy free range products, the organisation said food that contains egg products from caged hens or otherwise should be clearly labelled.

Charity spokeswoman Angelique Davies said several European countries have flouted a ban on keeping chickens in conventional cages, adding that Four Paws is also opposed to enriched colony enclosures as well.

She explained: "If it doesn't specify on the ingredient list that the eggs are free-range or barn, you can assume they are likely to have come from battery eggs.

"[Enriched] cages still severely restrict the movement and natural behaviour of the hens and the additional usable space provided for each bird is only equivalent to the size of a mobile phone."

Egg processors British Lion supported the charity's calls for better labelling, claiming it was already lobbying for such products to be clearly labelled with the system of production, "as is already the case for all retail shell egg packs".

However, the company rejected claims that enriched cases provided little more space than the size of a mobile phone. The firm stated that the special enclosures actually offered an additional 200 sq cm over conventional cages, as well as several other welfare improvements.

Ian Jones, chairman of the British Lion egg processors, said British companies have gone a step further to ensure all cage-produced egg products came from hens housed in higher-welfare enriched colony cases.

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